Eve Swabe, Tony Etherton, Tanya Warburg and Helene Briskman of the B’nai B’rith London Bureau of International Affairs recently attended an event at Portcullis House, organised by the Henry Jackson Society in conjunction with the Centre for Near East Research.
The event was entitled “Perpetuating Statelessness” – UNRWA its activities and funding.
The speakers were:
Bassam Eid, Director, Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group
Dr. Arnon Groiss, Deputy Director, IBA’s Arabic Radio and Translator of Arabic Schoolbooks.
David Bedein, the Director, Center for Near East Policy Research, and Founder the Israel Resource News Agency.
Louise Ellman MP chaired the meeting.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), was established after the 1948 War of Independence to provide aid and services to Arab refugees and their descendants. It was founded in 1950 to provide education, healthcare, relief and social services, camp infrastructure, microfinance and emergency assistance to the Palestinians.
Palestinians registered with UNRWA do not come under UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
In most post-war situations, refugees have sought asylum in their host countries whereas the Palestinians, insist on the “right of return” to their former homes in Israel. Moreover
Palestinians are the only people who have inherited status as refugees so that from the original 600,000 approx refugees, with grand children and great grandchildren they now number in the millions. There are some 59 designated refugee camps which have morphed from tents to shacks to brick built ghettos.
UNRWA operates in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, and Gaza.
Bassam Eid talked about the false hope of repatriation being taught to children in UNRWA schools.
Dr. Arnon Groiss has for many years monitored and translated the content of Palestinian school text books. He gave several examples of hate and incitement in these books. There is no mention of Israel, both Israel and the West Bank is depicted as Palestinian territories, children are urged in poems to become Shahid (Martyrs) and declare Jihad against the Jews until they can take back their homes in what is now Israel.
David Bedein explained how UNRWA, in Gaza, has been taken over by Hamas, which forms the majority of its workforce. Several terrorists have been employed in senior positions and have taught in schools.
During Operation Protective Edge several UNRWA schools were found to have rockets stored on their premises. On many occasions rockets were fired in the vicinity of UNRWA schools. An attack tunnel was dug beneath an UNRWA clinic.
UNRWA is responsible for keeping Palestinians artificially reliant on aid, brainwashing them to hate Israelis and Jews, giving false promises and hope of the right of return, and therefore stopping Palestinians from ever being assimilated into main stream society. They are kept as an open sore against Israel.
Most of UNRWA’s funding comes from 38 donor states mostly European countries and the United States, which contributes about 25% and is the largest donor.
The speakers did not advocate the abolition of UNRWA but rather that donor nations lay down the following conditions:
- Stop incitement, particularly in text books
- Stop support for Hamas and other proscribed groups
- Stop promoting the “right of return”
- Stop inherited refugee status and adopt the internationally accepted UNHCR definitions of refugee status
Louise Ellman summed up the session by urging Jews to write to their MP about UNRWA. She said that many pro Palestinian supporters lobby MPS and it is disheartening for pro Israel MPs not to receive much from the Jewish Community.